My eyebrows have bothered me my entire life. Not in like a, they're not my favourite, but I can deal with them kind of way. It's more of an intense, MUST FIX THEM NOW kind of way.
In the seventh grade, I decided my eyebrows were too thick. So I made the extremely wise choice of DIY-ing a fix alone with a pair of tweezers I found in my mom’s bathroom. Well, you take a little off the left, then a little off the right, then the left is uneven and...you get the point. Fifteen minutes later they were an over-plucked, butchered hot mess.
And because it was the '90s and thin brows were on-point, I kept up my plucking habit for YEARS. And now...well, they won't grow back anymore.
Which sucks because, ICYMI, it's 2018 and big, bold brows are in. Seriously, where were Lilly Collins and Cara Delevingne when bushy-browed me needed them??
Even people who rocked thin brows in the '90s (ahem, Gwen Stefani), have managed to grow theirs out to stay on-trend and gorgeous.
As for me? I have resorted to years of pencils, powders, fillers, thickeners, waxes, brushes, tints, kits, and myriad other products that all promised to bring back my brows. You name it, I have tried it.
Of course, nothing has really worked. I'm still mostly stuck with the same thin brows that I had back in seventh grade (although thankfully, a lot less butchered-looking).
So when I heard about microblading—a procedure where pigment is semi-permanently tattooed onto your brows, giving the appearance of perfectly-full eyebrows—I was def intrigued. Especially once I got wind that “The Eyebrows Queen” herself, Nicoleta Palmer, was visiting New York City and taking appointments.
The Queen (as she’s been so rightfully dubbed) is a huge deal. The microblading expert—who trained at PhiAcademy and the Romanian Institute of Art and Makeup—counts celebs like Penelope Cruz, Sienna Miller, and Nicole Richie as clients. Plus, she's got 11K followers on her Instagram who live for her brow tutorials.
Which is precisely why I felt safe in her hands—despite the fact that the procedure involved semi-permanent pigment (or, with Nicoleta, vegan dye) being inserted into my skin through tiny slits cut to mimic brow hairs.
So yeah, it hurts.
Sure, I was definitely nervous. I mean, NEEDLES. Putting pigments into CUTS. On my FACE. And I'd definitely heard horror stories about people being left with super-dark, wacky-looking brows or infections that were hard to treat.
But I have to say—it was totally worth it. Nicoleta helped me feel really comfortable about the whole thing (needles and all). She even used a numbing cream when the "embroidery" really got going, which made it a lot more bearable. And, it surprisingly only took a few minutes.
The skin around my brows was a little red after, but just look at the difference:
Fuller, even, more feathered, more Gwen-like…dare I might add?? And the best part is, they can last for up to three years!
While it’s great not having to put a stitch of cosmetics on these new bad boys, a little powder or hold-in-place gel is sometimes still a nice touch, for when you’re going 100 percent glam.
A word to the wise though: If you’re planning on getting your arches ‘bladed, do NOT go in the summertime. You’re not supposed to sweat, be in the sun really, or work out for seven days after the treatment (otherwise, you risk making the pigment fade).
Most people do at least a second session and regular touchups to make the look last for a long time. But be warned that the cost does add up. According to RealSelf.com, the average price of a microblading session is about $400 (but can be more than that, depending on where you go and where you live).
While my brows are still a work in progress and I might go a little fuller and darker on my second try, microblading has definitely made my morning routine shorter and my confidence stronger in a lot of ways. And haters can hate all you want, but there's a reason #BrowsOnFleek has 1,925,123 posts on Instagram. Mine are now eligible to be tagged there too.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US.